Nelson Mandela’s Biography
Nelson Mandela’s Biography

Nelson Mandela’s Biography

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Nelson Mandela was born in a village known as Mvezo. He was born on 18 July 1918 where his father was a key adviser to the Thembu royal family.

Early Years

Mandela received and developed his political views and attitudes at a tender age during his early school days. Influences by the elder’s stories and past ancestral resistance to various wars that had occurred throughout the land prompted him to develop his fierce stand against colonialism and oppression (Mandela ,2011).

He received his primary education at a local mission school where he adopted the name Nelson. He was later transferred to Clarke bury Boarding Institute where he studied his junior certificate. He pursued his university degree at the University College of Harare for a Bachelor of Arts degree. Even at this stage his political development and personality improvement was evident whereby he was elected to the Students Representative Council (Mandela, 1995). During his stint at the college, he was suspended for being involved in a protest which they had meticulously planned with his friend Oliver Tambo.

His rebellious personality was also evident when he ran way with his cousin to Johannesburg in order to escape planned and arranged marriage. It was in Johannesburg where he entered the political arena whereby he was introduced to the likes of Walter Sisulu i


n1941. He afterwards enrolled for a Law Degree in the University of Witwatersrand.

He later joined the ANC which came into being during the World War. In 1948, he was further elected as the league’s national secretary making him one of the most promising young minds in South Africa.

Political and Prison Life

As a president for the Youth Wing, he was elected to the National Executive Committee. At this stage he was mostly involved in organizing and mobilizing the youths and individuals with national interest at heart to join the rebellious movement that he him together with other youth and established leaders were already involved in. This however led to his later arrest where him and other 17 members of the Defiance Campaign were tried for their role in the rebellion campaign. At this stage he was detained for only 6 months (Nelson, 1973). He was not to stop there though as he continued his role as one of the major pioneers of various protests that occurred throughout the Apartheid country at the time.

As from 1950, Mandela spent most of his life years in prison. After the Shapeerville Massacre, the ANC was labeled as an outlawed group. This triggered the formation of Umkhontto We Sizwe to evade detection by the then government. This new movement entailed the use of armed resistance as a way for gaining freedom from the whites. In 1962, he was handed life imprisonment sentence at the Robben Island. He was later to be transferred to Pollsmor Prison in 1982 and subsequently to Victor Versen Prison in 1988.

Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990. He was immediately elected as ANC president.
Following various issues around the globe that saw the collapse of apartheid policy i

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South Africa and his Nobel Prize win, Mandela was elected as the first black South African president. He served up to 1999 where he voluntarily retired from presidency.


Mandela met his death on the 5th of December 2013 aged 95 years after a long illness and old age. The country declared national mourning of around 10 days to celebrate the life of a fallen hero who left so much history and inspiring influence.


  1. Nelson Mandela. (1973). No easy walk to freedom (Vol. 123). Heinemann.
  2. Mandela, N. R. (1995). Long walk to freedom: The autobiography of Nelson Mandela (No. 92 M271-l). London, GB: Abacus.
  3. Mandela, N. (2011). Conversations with myself. Toronto: Anchor Canada
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